I am certainly on the bleeding edge here — but in the next 5-10 years home cooling is going to get more complicated than it is today.
I’ve got 4 pcs, a network attached printer, various scanners and cameras, a vonage ata box, hubs, speakers, monitors, router, cable modem, and phone system in my office/server room. Naturally a hot room, but it has become unbearable on sunny days — and so I’ve had to add a dedicated air conditioner for this room.
My media center has a similar problem — the cabinet next to my screen contains a receiver/amp, directivo box, comcast box, dvd, vcr, ld player, etc. I’ve had to punch a hole in a wall and install a fan to vent out to the garage.
The heat generated by consumer electronics is just too much. (Attendant with this is the fan noise problem which can be addressed by clever heat sinks and other designs — but you can’t design away the waste heat).
If I was building a new house I’d explicitly design for these issues. Ventilation, extra thermostats, extra cooling capacity — it is a pain to add this stuff later. House HVAC design is going to get way more complicated.
We can do some things to address the problem — moving away from incandescent bulbs for instance — I’ve done that in my problem rooms already. But the problem is just going to grow as we add more sophisticated electronics into our life — I am currently reading “The Bottomless Well”:amazon, on which I’ll write a full review later, but it is pretty convincing that we are going to have more waste heat, not less to deal with, in the future.